Auburn Hills’ Continental Unveils New Technologies at CES 2020 in Las Vegas

Continental has unveiled its Natural 3D Centerstack display with touch functions at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Image courtesy of Continental

Continental, which has its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills and develops technologies and services for connected mobility, today unveiled seven technological advances at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Innovations include the ability to see under vehicles while driving, more secure keyless access, and a speaker-free sound system.

“Digital technologies are driving smart and autonomous mobility,” says Dirk Abendroth, chief technology officer. “At CES, we will demonstrate how we are shaping the future and how we are creating a wow-factor in mobility in the areas of software, high-performance computing, safety, user experience, and connectivity.”

The company’s “transparent hood” function is the first to market globally. It displays the road beneath the hood, allowing the driver to see terrain and obstacles that would not otherwise be visible. It is based on the company’s Surround View system, which consists of four satellite cameras and an electronic control unit. An intelligent processing algorithm reconstructs the image below the vehicle and shows it on vehicles’ infotainment screens.

Continental is working with partners to integrate ultra-wideband technology into future vehicles to make keyless vehicle operation more secure and convenient. When integrated into smartphones, the technology can enable new functions such as secure passive entry or parking vehicles remotely. It will complement the existing short-distance radio standards in keyless vehicle access. Continental has played a leading role in developing the basis of the technology in the Car Connectivity Consortium, which includes BMW and Apple as members. The consortium is working on standardizing the use of ultra-wideband technology and digital keys in general to enable their use for all smartphone operating systems and models.

The technology makes keyless vehicle access more secure by preventing unauthorized access. The radio signal of the vehicle key is extended by radio technology in order to make the vehicle appear to be in close proximity to the driver. The driver’s location is pinpointed almost to the centimeter using the technology, and the information is used to control access.

Another technology displayed with the 3D Lightfield technology. introduced in 2019, it powers the Natural 3D Centerstack display, which enables all passengers in the vehicle to enjoy a 3-D experience without special glasses or head tracker cameras. The display offers passengers a touch function. Continental and its partner Leia are also integrating technology into the center console display for the first time in 4K resolution. In addition, the display board can be operated by touch and provides haptic feedback.

Continental has also developed an online platform that automates and standardizes software development and integration into vehicles. The development often posts challenges for automobile manufacturers, who have to integrate increasing amounts of software into future vehicle generations. The Continental Cooperation Portal automates the back-and-forth between software delivery, testing, and validation, as well as restoring data for all software suppliers in the event of errors, ensuring that only error-free applications are transferred to the development system.

Another development is the company’s loudspeaker-free audio system, which fills vehicles with lifelike sound. The system uses the Ac2ated Sound concept that eliminates the need for conventional speakers and instead causes existing surfaces in the vehicle to vibrate.

Specialists from Argus Cyber Security, a Continental subsidiary, are working with experts from T-Systems to present their first Automotive Security Operations Center at CES 2020. Vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators will be able to continuously monitor the information technology security of their vehicles on the road, detect attacks, and react as quickly as possible.

Finally, the new Contact Sensor System detects contact between a vehicle and a person or object at cutting speed, helping to make applications such as automated parking safer. The recording of sound signals by the system can be used to detect a collision impact at low speeds so vehicles can be stopped immediately. The sensor signals can support other applications such as detection of vandalism, recognition of road condition, driver identification by voice, and detection of approaching emergency vehicles.